So, I had to sell one of my guitars to afford this, but I recently purchased a Boss RC-50 Loop Station. I was wondering if anyone has ever used this in worship? Or, has any thing to say about this type of equipment.
I don't have a Boss RC-50, but I do have a Digitech Jamman. It's also a loop station (but not as elaborate) and I usually use it to do overlaps and other things when I'm jamming, but that's about the only time I use it. I love it when writing because I don't need someone to play a specific part on the guitar and then I can try things over it, because I can just play that part and loop it and try different solos and interludes on my own. As far as worship goes, however, I've never tried to use it. I would need a few things to begin with. First of all, we don't have a drummer, so having the drummer keeping time with an in-ear metronome isn't a possibility. This is almost a must while integrating looping stations because your loops are set at a certain speed for the most part and so they will stay tempo specific. So it could end up by the end of the second chorus, your instruments and singers are all on, but the loop is off.
Second is loop accuracy. You will have to pre-record the loops you would like to use, or open the possibility of making obvious mistakes in the middle of service. If you haven't heard of Andrew Bird, he is a musician that is very much a perfectionist that thrives in loops in live performance. Generally he performs with only himself on electric guitar, violin and vocals, and a drummer who adds other small parts. When recording a live version of one of his songs, he started over three times because the loop which was essential to the performance of the song was a little off, so the repeat didn't create a full loop that was on time to the song. When he got it down right, it sounded amazing, but imagine being in the crowd during that performance seeing him mess up twice only to stop (ruining the mood essentially), and start over again.
I see that the RC-50 has a multi-layer capability. This could be a very useful tool, however, you need to be very careful. When switching from loop to loop, you may overlap the wrong lead part with the wrong loop if you're rushing to make sure each part of the song flows seamlessly. This is where practice comes in and it may end up working for you. Another thing is that you want to make sure you aren't 'tap-dancing' for each song during worship. This could become very distracting for you and for the congregation. Even though the music may sound good, it could end up feeling empty because more people are focused on you changing the settings on your looper than singing along and worshipping God. And you might feel the same way as well.
It seems that the RD-50 is an amazing tool and if used properly, it could add a ton to your worship team, but make sure, like all things, that it doesn't become a distraction. Wrapping up, I know this sound pretty negative and I apologize if it really does come off that way. I don't intend to 'scare' you into not using it, I just wanted to point out some possible pitfalls you could encounter before you actually run into them in service. I hope what I have said helps in preparation if you plan to use it and I hope you find incredible ways to use this new 'toy' to bring others to worship with God!
No, that's awesome man.. Good input. Thank you!
You're right.. The key is to lead them to a place where they're able to worship the Lord first and foremost. I don't have a drummer, (yet) still praying for one. Also, I'm wanting to use it for street witnessing here in Japan. I have written several acoustic guitar/rap songs and would love to get them out on the streets. There is little to no Christian music here let alone for the young people. I'm hoping to loop beats or even repetitive chord progressions. As far as on stage maybe some day. But I know if it's distracting my pastor will call me on it. Anyhow again, thank you!
Oh, you're welcome. Glad I could help! From what it sounds like, the loop station will be perfect for you and what you want to do! I'm sure you'll have a great time recording and looping and I've found that as long as you are completely open to constructive criticism, people tend to feel comfortable sharing things that may possibly feel negative (like something that may be distracting during worship) in a loving way. This allows them to feel that they've spoken their concern to someone who cares to hear it, and it allows you to receive feedback to help you serve others better. I'll pray that your ministry flourishes under God's direction and that you have a much easier job finding a drummer than we have! :)